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Posted by on Nov 9, 2010 in Thoughts on Writing | 0 comments

A Matter of Perspective

Redd-Yountville-Donut-Holes

Just a little food for thought about starting a new novel

As some of you know, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. In a nutshell, National Novel Writing Month is a time when crazy fiction writers like myself pledge to write 50,000 words towards a brand new novel in only 30 days. Editing, researching, reality checks…all those things can wait until December. November is strictly for getting the words on the page, even if it’s largely a string of nonsensical babble.

Basically, it’s a living nightmare for the orderly planner perfectionist authors among us…

That said, NaNo is an excellent exercise for getting in the habit of writing each day. Yes, as a freelance writer, my days are bubbling over with writing time, but it’s not always of the fiction variety. That’s why I’m participating this year. It’s time I proved to myself that I can wear my writer/editor hat by day and crazed author hat by night. (crazed because my author hat is covered in silver sparkles…)

So, how am I doing on my quest to 50,000 words?

Bad.

Real bad.

As I type, I should be at a happy word count of 13,336. I’m not even close. 10,095 is all I have.

So, like I said, real bad.

But this is still a learning experience for me. I could blame my poor word count stats on my regular workload. I could blame it on being sick. I could even blame it on a browser game I spend a few minutes here and there playing throughout the day.

The truth, however, is that I’m having trouble with this new story because I failed to plan my perspective. Well, okay…I failed to put together an outline or character names as well, but that’s not causing the problem. It’s perspective.

Whose story is it?

Okay, yes…mine, but beyond that. Which character drives the plot from scene to shining scene? Is it the killer? Is it Detective Kyle Sharp? What about Agent Avery St. Clair?

Here’s the kicker: It’s all of them. You heard me. Three different characters are critical to this novel’s plot. Take any one of them out of the mix and the plot ends up with major holes…and not the yummy doughnut kind, either. Speaking of which…I wonder if the leftover doughnut holes from the weekend are still good…

Anyway. Since I’m writing the entire novel in 3rd person limited POV, it’s not the end all, stop the presses – if we still had presses – type of issue. Now, if I were writing in 1st person…yikes. Can you imagine never knowing from one chapter to the next whether you’re a cop, a Fed or a killer?

Final Thought

As I leave you tonight to return to my convoluted manuscript of By Slivered Moonlight, I encourage you to take a page out of my book on what NOT to do. It’s one thing to open a blank document and let the muse bravely lead you into your next piece of brilliance. It’s something else to be 10,095 words into your novel and still be determining whose story it is.

So, even if you’re not a planner, maybe that’s one area you can plan in advance. Let’s face it, you can probably figure it out while you scarf down a few delish doughnut holes.

Until the muse returns…

Sydney

Photo Credit: Food Nut.com

© 2010 – 2013, Sydney Katt. All rights reserved.

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